Malocclusion (misaligned teeth) can be corrected with braces. The Orthodontics Department at National Dental Centre Singapore discusses the different treatment options.
Different types of braces
Fixed braces – metal and ceramic
In fixed braces, a bracket is attached to the front of each individual tooth with a special adhesive. The brackets, which can be made of metal or ceramic, are linked together by orthodontic wires. Fixed braces are suitable for severe cases of misaligned teeth.
Metal braces are the cheapest and most effective in fixing severely misaligned teeth. Ceramic braces look more natural than metal braces but cost more and take longer to straighten misaligned teeth.
These are virtually unnoticeable because of their clear colour, and can be removed during meals and while brushing teeth. Invisible aligners are suitable for less severe cases of misaligned teeth. They are a more expensive choice, but may provide an option for people worried about how they would look like with braces and who wish to enjoy eating without the hassle of having something in the mouth.
These are fixed metal braces attached to the back of the teeth rather that the front. They are thus ideal for adults or older teenagers who are concerned about the appearance of traditional fixed braces. Lingual braces are more expensive and harder to clean than regular fixed braces. Another disadvantage of lingual braces is that they can graze your tongue and affect your speech. Oral hygiene may become a bigger challenge.
“Your orthodontist can recommend the bracing system best suited to your lifestyle and malocclusion,” says
Dr Ivan Lim Kuen Fui, Senior Consultant & Head,
National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS), a member of the
Malocclusion: How long does it take to treat?
Treatment with fixed braces typically takes 2 to 3 years. During this period, you will need to visit your orthodontist every 4-8 weeks.
“For the braces treatment to progress well, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene, brush after every meal and snack, and avoid hard, sticky foods,” says Ms Kimberly Chim Yi Xiang, Oral Health Therapist, NDCS.
After your braces are removed, you will be given retainers to wear, to hold your teeth in their new positions. Typically, retainers are worn for several years to prevent the teeth from reverting to their original positions.